I’ve heard them both on many occasions.
“I didn’t get a good workout, I don’t feel anything. I am just not sore at all.”
“I had the best workout ever yesterday!! I am so sore I can barely walk!!”
So why do muscles get sore?
Muscles are fibers. As they get worked, they get stretched and get little “micro tears. Then the muscles actually do the growing that we desire, during the repair phase of the fibers. The soreness associated with this process is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) 24 to 72 hours later.
So now, is it good to be sore after a workout and how sore?
Getting super sore is not necessary to have a good workout. Likewise, if you don’t get sore that doesn’t mean you didn’t get a good workout. Most of us like a happy medium and that’s actually best. You are going to be sore, especially if you are new to fitness.
Here’s the rule of thumb, if the severe soreness lasts more than 72 hours, or is debilitating and alters your ability to do life, you did too much and need to back off the next workout! NOTICE I did NOT say stop working out! The worst thing you can do is lay around stagnant.
So, what can you do to minimize muscle soreness?
Stretch, foam roll, or do yoga
Move: go for a walk
Ice or Heat
Epson Salt Bath
Drink lots of water
Don’t just stop working out
Your next workout decrease intensity: grab lighter weights and do less reps or less total time.
The bottom line is, YOU WILL (very likely) be sore when you first start a new workout program, so suck it up Buttercup, haha! But you do not need to be uber sore! That’s just not necessary! Listen to your body; learn when you need to back off and when you could push yourself a little more! Increasing the “overload” and intensity will come as your body gets more use to the workouts. And yes, you will likely be more sore when you push yourself harder or do something new.
A little sore feels good for the body and soul!